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Your Body The Drug Dealer

Your Body The Drug Dealer

    The Scene: You’re driving in your Volkswagen on a cool autumn day.  You gaze out the window to admire the colorful foliage when out of nowhere a toddler on a big wheel rolls directly in front of your car.  You slam on the breaks, just barely avoiding disaster.

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    You can feel your heart in your chest.  It appears everything has slowed down.  Your vision seems to have narrowed.  Your once clogged sinuses are now clear.  That nagging tendinitis you have had in your elbow seems to have temporarily gone away.

    Your body has just given you a powerful dose of epinephrine.

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    Epinephrine/Adrenaline

    The “fight or flight” hormone.  Your body releases epinephrine in response to short term stress situations.  These situations tend to involve extreme changes in the environment, like those of temperature, noise, bright light, or children running in front of your car.  The purpose of this temporary doping is to allow increased oxygen to reach the brain and skeletal muscle in order to allow for momentary peak performance.  The type of performance one might have needed to escape from a saber toothed cat 2 million years ago.  The software in our bodies hasn’t really updated much since then.

    Testosterone

    For our purposes I’ll skip the sex education speech and go into the not-so-familiar method of elevating testosterone; through exercise.  Studies have shown that using complex movements like squats and pull ups as opposed to leg extensions and biceps curls has a much greater impact on our bodies ability to naturally increase its testosterone levels.  Testosterone offers us a plethora of benefits such as increased libido, mental and physical energy, decreased fat mass, and increased protein synthesis and bone density.  Not bad for anyone whose goal is to either shed a few pounds or gain some lean muscle.  Aside from using compound movements studies also seem to favor using heavy weights when trying to stimulate greater testosterone levels.

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    Cortisol

    Like epinephrine, cortisol is also released due to stress.  Its job is to try to bring your body’s systems back to homeostasis after an event.  It does this by increasing blood pressure, blood lipids, and blood sugar.  It also temporarily shuts down the immune system in order to cater to the other more important bodily systems.  Unfortunately, some negative side effects of long-term cortisol release can leave you pretty beat up on the inside.  Your body is now more likely to store fat close to the vital organs in your gut so that it is more readily available for the next stressful event.  A good way to spot the stressed-out guy at your office is to look for the beer belly.

    Although this article did not focus completely around exercise and fitness, it should be easy to see how knowing a little bit about the way things work on the inside can affect the way you look on the outside.  Understand and learn your body; that is a major key to success in any fitness program.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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